Health Benefits of Gourmet Vinegar

In its simplest form, vinegar is an acidic liquid that is made when carbohydrates and sugars ferment. Ethanol is then oxidized to acetic acid, which becomes the vinegar. This ethanol, in addition to being found in vinegar, is also found in many consumer products such as beer, wine and fruit juice.

The term, “balsamic” is used for aromatic, aged vinegars made from the concentrated juice of wine grapes. The distinct taste and color of many balsamics is because of years of aging in a succession of barrels made from different types of wood. These woods vary from ash, acacia, cherry, chestnut, juniper, mulberry and oak. To make vinegar it is first aged in the wooden barrels and as its volume evaporates over a number of years, the mature liquid is transferred from larger barrels to successively smaller ones. Each of these barrels brings with it its unique blend of aromatic flavoring woods. For the vinegar to be aged properly, the ideal storage location for it is an attic which is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

In addition to gourmet balsamic vinegars’ positive effect on our food and our palate, vinegar is good for your health. Consider using a balsamic vinegar based dressing on your salads rather than a mayonnaise-based one as a way to reduce your caloric and fat intake. Using balsamic vinegar is also an ideal way to marinade and tenderize lean cuts of meat. Slicing up a crusty loaf of French bread and offering your dinner guests a bowl of balsamic vinegar and gourmet olive oil for dipping as a heart-healthy and delicious before-dinner treat.

In addition to awakening your taste buds, here are some of the health benefits that gourmet vinegar offers:

  • In folklore, balsamic has been used to both energize and cure bodily aches and pains
  • It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and this makes balsamics an effective home remedy for the treatment of wounds and infections
  • One of the most powerful antioxidants, polyphenols which help boost your immune system and fight cell damage, are contained in balsamic vinegar
  • Give your metabolism a boost with balsamic as it amps up the activity of the digestive enzyme, pepsin
  • One study has shown that by adding five teaspoons of vinegar to a meal you can help control diabetes because the balsamic improves insulin sensitivity
  • Balsamics can reduce cholesterol levels, slow the aging process, reduce the frequency of headaches and help fight fatigue and prevent anemia
  • Balsamics can be used to heal stomach aches, bug bites and take away the pain of a jellyfish sting

 

Gourmet vinegar is one of most versatile of cooking ingredients and when added to your favorite recipes offer up a palate-pleasing change of pace. Check the O&CO. website for recipes using either fruit, wine, basil and other balsamic flavors to enhance your dinner table offerings.